FourFourTwo's 50 Most Memorable Euros Goals: 40-31
Here's the second part of our list of the 50 Most Memorable Euros Goals. We're relasing the full selection across the week, so keep popping back to find the rest.
40. Wayne Rooney, ENGLAND v Croatia, 2004
“Is there nothing he can’t do?” asked John Motson as an 18-year-old Rooney fired England into the knockout stages of Euro 2004. The player of the tournament until he was injured early in the quarter-finals, this was the best of Rooney’s four goals, a right-footed rifle to make it 2-1.
39. Willy van der Kerkhof, NETHERLANDS v West Germany, 1980
With Bernt Schuster pulling the strings, Klaus Allofs bagging a hat-trick and a young Lothar Matthaus making his debut from the bench, West Germany had too much for a fading Dutch outfit – or so it seemed. A Johnny Rep penalty and this low piledriver from ’70s stalwart Van der Kerkhof set up a nervy finish for the would-be champions.
38. Michael Ballack, GERMANY v Austria, 2008
After defeat to Croatia, Germany’s qualification hopes were hanging in the balance as they faced the co-hosts in Vienna. But cometh the hour, cometh the (talis)man, and Ballack blasted a free-kick into the top corner just after half-time, not for the first time putting his team on course for the final.
37. Stuart Pearce, ENGLAND v Spain, 1996
Who can forget Psycho’s fist-pumping release as he smashed home his penalty in the first knockout round of 1996? The disappointment of losing on penalties in 1990 was washed away by the tough-tackling Nottingham Forest left-back as he guided the ball home, with the Three Lions advancing to set up a semi-final encounter with Germany, where Pearce would again score in the shootout.
36. Luis Figo, PORTUGAL v England, 2000
It would take something special to get Portugal back in the game after England had raced into a 2-0 lead in this group opener, and it came from the right foot of Figo in his pomp. Look closely and you'll notice the ball takes a tiny deflection off the instep of Tony Adams, but David Seaman was getting nowhere near the Portuguese's pure strike, which flew into the top corner, anyway.
35. Wesley Sneijder, NETHERLANDS v France, 2008
The stand-out goal of the Oranje’s 4-1 demolition of Raymond Domenech’s embarrassing France side, Sneijder cutting back onto his right foot to hammer a 25-yarder into the roof of the net, making it nine points out of nine in Group C. What’s Dutch for ‘don’t peak too soon’?
34. Alan Shearer, ENGLAND v Germany, 2000
It may have been Shearer's name on the scoresheet, but this goal belongs as much to David Beckham as it does to the former Newcastle striker. A wonderfully whipped free-kick from the right pitched perfectly between the German defence and goalkeeper, and when no-one got a touch first time around Shearer was on hand to nod the ball at the back stick.
33. Semih Senturk, TURKEY v Croatia, 2008
One of the most dramatic matches in European Championship history played out in Vienna in 2008, with Turkey edging out Croatia on penalties to book their place in the last four. Ivan Klasnic's goal in the 119th minute looked to have won it for Slaven Bilic's side, but Senturk smashed a shot into the top corner of the net in the final minute of stoppage time in extra time to break Croatian hearts and send the game to a shootout.
32. Zinedine Zidane, FRANCE v England, 2004
In truth, England should have been out of sight and France down to ten men as this opening group game entered its dying moments, with Zidane hitherto completely overshadowed by a brilliant young striker by the name of Wayne Rooney. But Zizou had the final word, dispatching a curling, dipping free-kick past a wrong-footed David James from 25 yards after Emile Heskey’s clumsy foul. Then, after James had upended Thiery Henry trying to get to Steven Gerrard’s suicidal backpass, Zidane stepped up again. After being sick - literally - with nerves, his perfectly-placed penalty won the game for the holders.
31. Vasyl Rats, SOVIET UNION v Holland, 1988
Having shot to fame by scoring an absolute screamer against France at Mexico 86, Rats proved it was no fluke with this angled first-time strike to beat Holland in his side's group opener, when Marco van Basten was on the bench. Rats – who nearly got in the way of the Dutchman’s volley in the final – wished he’d stayed there.